Barnsley ended their wait for their first goals and points of 2023 with an emphatic 3-1 home win over Accrington Stanley.

The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead after eight minutes through strikers James Norwood and Jack Aitchison, then Jordan Williams made it three before the midway point in the first half.

The impressive Reds ran riot against their lowly hosts early on then controlled the remainder of the game, missing some more chances, before Accrington netted an injury-time penalty.

Barnsley remain sixth in League One, five points clear in the play-offs.

Michael Duff had made two changes from the defeat to Charlton Athletic a week earlier. Debutant Bobby Thomas replaced the injured Josh Benson while Norwood came in for the benched Devante Cole. Williams moved to right wing-back with Thomas on the right of the back three.

The Reds totally dominated the first half, barely troubled at the back, much stronger in midfield than their disappointing visitors and clinical up front.

Norwood opened the scoring in the fifth minute, brilliantly overhead kicking into the net on the left of the six-yard box after an Adam Phillips cross from the right was headed into the air by Thomas. It was his sixth goal of the season.

It was 2-0 three minutes later when Luca Connell’s cross from the left was spilled by the goalkeeper, under pressure from Norwood, and Aitchison fired into the nearly empty net. It was the Scot’s first goal at Oakwell.

The third goal arrived in the 19th minute when Connell’s fantastic pass set Phillips free on the right and he cleverly passed inside to the onrushing Williams who beat the goalkeeper one-on-one.

Norwood almost got another but his powerful shot from the right of the box was tipped over by the goalkeeper. Phillips had brilliantly won the ball, charged forward and played Norwood in.

Herbie Kane came close early in the second half when he was put clean through by an excellent Williams pass but shot wide of the bottom right corner from the left of the box. Kane then fired over inside the box a few minutes later when sliding in to meet a Williams cross.

Brad Collins made his first save in the 74th minute, easily catching Josh Woods’ volley from the left of the box.

Mads Andersen headed well off-target unmarked from a left-wing Connell corner.

Substitute Ziyad Larkeche conceded a penalty deep in injury-time after dwelling on the ball then tripping an attacker. Tommy Leigh’s spot-kick was almost saved by Collins but went in off the bar.

Barnsley (3-5-2): Collins; Thomas, Andersen, Kitching; Williams, Kane (Wolfe 82mins), Connell, Phillips, Cadden (Larkeche 82); Norwood (Cole 77), Aitchison (Watters 65).

Unused: Searle, Martin, Oduor.

Yellow cards: Thomas.

Goals: Norwood 5, Aitchison 8, Williams 19.

Accrington: Savin; Rodgers, Tharme, Astley; Quirk, Coyle, McConville (Adekoya 70), Martin, Hamilton (Longelo 60mins); Leigh, Whalley (Woods 60) .

Unused: Jensen, Nottingham, Perritt, Fernandes.

Yellow cards: Hamilton, Coyle.

Goals: Leigh (pen) 90+3.

  • 3:05pm
    Debutant Bobby Thomas is playing at right centre-back with Andersen staying in the middle
  • 3:06pm
    Barnsley have had most of the ball in the opening minutes but no real attacks yet
  • 3:06pm
    4 Aitchison wins a corner on the right. after good passes by Thomas and Williams
  • 3:07pm
    4 Kane corner on the right, headed behind for another
  • 3:07pm
    5 Kane corner on the right, this time headed out
  • 3:08pm
    James Norwood opens the scoring with an overhead kick
  • 3:10pm
    Jack Aitchison doubles the lead!
  • 3:12pm
    Fantastic start for the Reds. Their first goals in 2023
  • 3:12pm
    I should probably describe the goals now
  • 3:13pm
    The first was a cross from the right, we think by Adam Phillips., it was headed up in the air and Norwood brilliantly hooked it in with an overhead kick
  • 3:14pm
    The second was a Connell cross from the left which the goalkeeper spilled and Aitchison tapped into the empty net
  • 3:14pm
    A Stanley defender has just sliced narrowly wide of his goal then they cleared the following corner
  • 3:15pm
    Accrington look all over the place and Barnsley are well on top
  • 3:16pm
    Those were the Reds’ first goals of 2023 and mean they have passed their tally of 18 at home in the league from the whole of last season.
  • 3:19pm
    The game has settled down a little bit now but theReds are still in control
  • 3:22pm
    Jordan Williams gets another after a fine move!
  • 3:24pm
    Lovely goal, albeit against a side really struggling defensively. A fantastic pass by Connell puts Phillips through on the right and he finds on the on rushing Williams to beat the goalkeeper one on one from close range
  • 3:26pm
    Bobby Thomas the first name in the book for a foul on the right wing about 35 yards from Barnsley's goal
  • 3:28pm
    Ethan Hamilton booked for clattering Connell
  • 3:29pm
    Obviously, given the scoreline, but Barnsley are absolutely all over Accrington. They are playing some really good football and look like scoring every time they go forward
  • 3:33pm
    Accrington's young back line look really nervous and can't deal with Barnsley's passing or runs forward
  • 3:36pm
    The game has quietened down a little bit but Barnsley won't mind. It's been a fantastic afternoon for them so far
  • 3:39pm
    Accrington win a corner on the left when Thomas wanted a foul
  • 3:39pm
    37 Stanley corner on the left, headed up by Tommy Leigh and cleared by Aitchison
  • 3:40pm
    Chance for 4-0. Great work by Phillips who wins the ball then charges about 20 yards before slipping in Norwood on the right of the box. The shot is destined for the top right corner but tipped over
  • 3:45pm
    Barnsley still pushing for a fourth before the break. Good football on the edge of the box but Cadden overhits a pass to Kane in the area
  • 3:46pm
    This has been as dominant a half of football as you could imagine for Barnsley. Their defence has not been troubled, their midfield totally dominant and first to every ball, and their finishing clinical
  • 3:48pm
    Two added minutes
  • 3:49pm
    Two Stanley defenders leave the ball for each other and Norwood wins free-kick
  • 3:50pm
    45+1 Free-kick on the right played short, Connell crosses but it is cleared
  • 3:50pm
    HALF-TIME: Barnsley 3, Accrington 0. The Reds totally dominant with all the goals in the first 19 minutes
  • 4:07pm
  • 4:09pm
    Not much to report so far but Barnsley again the more attacking team, penning their visitors in so far
  • 4:13pm
    51 A Stanley throw leads to a scramble but Barnsley clear
  • 4:14pm
    52 Almost four. An excellent Williams pass puts Kane clean through on the left of the. box but he fires wide of the bottom right corner
  • 4:15pm
    Accrington try to play short corner but are caught offside. That pretty much sums them up today so far
  • 4:16pm
    55 Kane now shoots over inside the box when sliding in to meet a Williams cross.
  • 4:21pm
    Michael Duff still urging his players n from the dugout. He'll be really pleased but wants them to keep this standard of performance up
  • 4:22pm
    Accrington make a double change. Josh Woods and Rosaire Longelo on for Shaun Whalley and Ethan Hamilton
  • 4:24pm
    62 Corner on the right by Kane. Goes over everyone
  • 4:26pm
    64 Free-kick on the left. Taken by Connell. Headed byThomas but it hits a defended and loop up for the goalkeeper to gather
  • 4:27pm
    Max Watters. comes on his debuut
  • 4:27pm
    For Aitchison who has had a good game capped by a first Oakwell goal
  • 4:32pm
    That's twice this afternoon that Norwood has come from yards away to win balls he had no right to win against the lumbering Stanley defence. This one leads to across which is caught
  • 4:32pm
    Sean McConville replaced by Leslie Adekoya
  • 4:35pm
    Brad Collins has his first save to make, easily catching volley from the left of the box by Josh Woods
  • 4:36pm
    Liam Coyle is then booked for charging into Collins
  • 4:38pm
    Devante Cole comes on. for Norwood
  • 4:40pm
    Barnsley. take a free-kick on the right to Phillips whose cross is blocked for a corner
  • 4:41pm
    78 Another good chance. Andersen meets Connell's right wing corner unmarked about seven yards out but heads well off target
  • 4:42pm
    Accrington bring on Michael Nottingham and Harry Perritt for Astley and Tharme
  • 4:43pm
    Cadden replaced by Larkeche
  • 4:43pm
    Wolfe comes on for Kane
  • 4:45pm
    Attendance: 9893 (247 away)
  • 4:46pm
    Williams shoots well over from distance
  • 4:49pm
    Into the 88th minute of a contest which has been over since the eighth
  • 4:52pm
    This game. has fizzled out a bit but. all the damage was done in. the first 19 minutes with three goals as Barnsley ran riot. Since then they have controlled the game, while missing a few more chances
  • 4:55pm
    Penalty Accrington
  • 4:56pm
    Tommy Leigh converts with the last kick of the game. Foul by Larkeche
  • 4:57pm
    FULL-TIME: Barnsley 3, Accrington 1. The visitors net an injury-time penalty after the hosts scored three in the first 19 minutes